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Birdland

By: Nick van Dinther

Some films can be accused of lazy storytelling and a lack of risk.  Well, neither apply to Peter Lynch’s Birdland.  Unfortunately, Lynch’s convoluted ambition makes Birdland a very difficult film to follow.

Suspicious of the actions of her husband in their already unstable marriage, Sheila Hood (Kathleen Munroe) installs cameras in their home to find out what has been going on behind her back.  When it turns out what’s happening is much deeper than an affair, the recordings become key in an investigation that is not only about her husband, but about her too.

Birdland is a mixed bag.  The premise is intriguing, but the execution just misses the mark.  The cast, luckily, does not contribute to the film’s faults.  In fact, there isn’t a bad performance to be found in Birdland.  The writing may be uneven, but the film thrives with engaging characters, and the actors do a good job with the material they’ve been given.  The casting is problematic though.  By using two similar-looking actresses (Kathleen Munroe, Melanie Scrofan), the viewer could become confused as it is genuinely hard to tell them apart sometimes.

Ultimately, the film struggles with its storytelling.  Lots of twists ensue, and the screenwriters (Lynch and Lee Gowan) explain most of them by jumping back-and-forth through the narrative’s timeline.  However, there is no clear distinction between the present and the past.  A visual cue, like a black-and-white filter, would have worked within this film’s style and also helped the viewer comprehend what exactly was happening.

Birdland is not a film that should be written off;  it’s a stylized, slick film filled with solid performances.  But, it would have been better served by a simpler execution.

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